Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Catalysts of change in the face of high-altitude climate calamities

Situated in the mountainous region of Ladakh in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, Leh is one of the remotest administrative districts of India. Despite the cold desert climate, the Ladhakis have prospered; practicing agriculture at altitudes of over 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) in the brief summer months and under severe resource constraints. The harshness of the terrain has led Ladakhis to establish a way of life that is based on extremely efficient resource management, recycling, solid waste management and other ecological tenets of Buddhism.

In recent years, however, Leh has rapidly changed. The growing numbers of tourists has led many Ladakhis to abandon agriculture and move to the city for tourism-related businesses. The rapid urbanisation is also leading to overcrowding with an influx of migrant workers. Day-to-day life has been impacted as young Ladhakis increasingly adopt new and mainstream ideas of development. Local elders are concerned that these changes are resulting in the breakdown of their traditional value system and an abandonment of the longstanding ecological approach and indigenous wisdom.

The negative impact of these changes has become more apparent in recent times. Two severe flash floods, a phenomenon uncommon for the region, devastated Leh in 2006 and 2010. The damage was exacerbated by the overcrowding and encroachment on water channels. At the same time, Ladakhis have been witnessing a fast depletion of glaciers and snow cover; erratic water supply in the glacier fed streams; warmer temperatures; and new pest species that often destroy annual yields. These new realities have left Ladhakis increasingly insecure and uncertain about their future. Changes are happening at multiple levels and at a rate faster than can be managed and understood.

SEEDS, an NGO specialising in disaster risk reduction and recovery, started work in Leh in 2010 to support some of the worst affected families of the flash floods. The mission was to help reconstruct damaged houses. Two years later, SEEDS has helped rebuild 35 houses, constructed two community centres and conducted various mason trainings and school safety awareness activities. This work was supported by Cordaid, Care Today, Toshiba Japan, Kewal Remani Foundation and other donors.

Over this period, SEEDS’ learning on both the Ladakhi architectural ethos and their vulnerabilities has grown manifold. One could not help but notice how an extremely resilient community has started to become vulnerable and helpless in the face of climate changes. As strong advocates of ecologically sustainable and resilient development, seeds believes that integrating disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) into local development planning is an imperative step.

Therefore, with the support of CDKN and START, SEEDS has embarked on a 17-month action research project. The objective is to understand the factors and find the catalysts to bring about this integration in Leh. It looks at the relationship between local multi-stakeholder forums and policy environments. What is their potential to catalyse shifts in DRR and CCA policy in post-disaster contexts? What institutional mechanisms and governance structures can ensure the sustainability of such programmes?

Over the next year, SEEDS will be working with the local administration, which includes the Leh Autonomous Hill Council Development Authority and Leh district administration, NGOs, research organisations and community based oganisations in Leh. The activities will include coalition building, agenda setting and piloting of village level integrated CCA and DRR programmes.

As a first step, a one-day workshop was organised in Serthi valley, near Leh city, on July 27th, 2012. Over 100 men and women from villages in and Serthi attended to discuss issues of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The venue itself told its own story. This community centre was built by SEEDS with the help of local families of Serthi. A creation of stone, mud and wood, it uses traditional Ladhaki architectural wisdom. The building construction and design is not only locally appropriate and sustainable, but also capable of enduring harsh weather conditions and holding out during earthquakes.

Serthi’s Area Councillor who was also present at the meeting, appreciated these efforts of SEEDS and the people of Serthi. He offered the support of the Hill Council for the development of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation programmes in Serthi and other parts of Leh; and pledged funds for the enhancement of the community center in Serthi. The Gobas (village heads), Sarpanchs (elected village chief administrator) and village elders all stressed the need for local solutions to the water issues that plague Leh. They also acknowledged the need for better preparedness and risk reduction from flash floods and the ever-present risk of earthquakes.

Read in detail at :

Women 'are the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation' - expert

Thu, 2 Aug 2012 13:18 GMT

Source: Alertnet // Amantha Perera

A woman carries firewood gathered in a forest in the village of Rukam in the Batticaloa District of Eastern Sri Lanka. ALERTNET/Amantha Perera

By Amantha Perera

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AlertNet) – In 2006, when the Asian Development Bank (ADB) decided to launch a multi-million dollar rural water project in eastern and north central regions of Sri Lanka, there was one overriding requirement – women would be placed in key positions.

As a result, experts say, the $263 million program, aimed at providing drinking water to over 900,000 people by 2011, has been a particular success.

In the village of Talpothta, in the rural north-central Polonnaruwa District, the village women’s association is now central to the proper functioning of the new water supply plant provided under the ADB programme. Its members visit the over 200 users, read meters and more importantly advise beneficiaries on water usage when drought sets in.

“We know how much is needed. Women do most of the household work like cooking (and) washing clothes. We ask our members to limit use when we have problems,” said Sheila Herath, an association member.

Kusum Athukorala, one of the country’s leading experts on water management, agrees that women are key to adapting effective measures to deal with water challenges and changing climate patterns.

“Women are the foot soldiers of climate change adaptation,” said Athukorala who heads the Network of Women Water Professionals, Sri Lanka (NetWwater) and the Women for Water Partnership.

NetWwater’s efforts to create awareness among rural women on climate change, adaptation and water management have won support from Brandix, one of the island’s largest garment. That allows Athukorala to now travel the country, educating women on water management.

“One sixth of our water supply is from rural programmes managed by community-based organizations. If we don’t recognize the impact of over half of the population, these programmes will never succeed,” she said.


In other Asian countries women also are playing crucial roles at the grassroots level in preserving the environment and making sure human-inflicted damage remains controllable. Avi Mahaningtyas, an Indonesian expert on forest management and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) told AlertNet that it was rural women who knew intimately the forest’s value to their lives.

“They know it by heart and by birth,” said Mahaningtyas, who heads the Environmental and Economic Governance Cluster of the Kemitraan-Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia, a national body that works on good governance.

The same sentiment is true in rural China, says Xiaobei Wang, a China gender specialist with Landesa Rural Development Institute, an international organisation that works on poverty and land rights. Wang told AlertNet that as men increasingly migrated to cities looking for jobs, it was women, left behind in the villages, who took care of the land and the forests.

"In China most of men from areas near forests have left as migrant workers, making women the major labour force. About 60 percent of those working in forests and farm land are women. If their rights are not protected and enforced, there will be lots of issues in reducing poverty in forest areas and ensuring the sustainable management of forests,” she said.

Indonesia’s Mahaningtyas said that if a forest is to be preserved, like any other natural resource, it needs to carry a value. “A forest with a value will not easily be cut down. And it is the people who work within it who will know intimately that value.”

However, despite their importance, women are still being largely left out of the decision making, according to a new report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The report - The Challenges of Securing Women’s Tenure and Leadership for Forest Management: The Asian Experience - found that gender discrimination is still rampant.

Read in detail at :-

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Population growth, climate change drive need for urban rethink

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 12:13 GMT

Source: Alertnet // Amantha Perera

A man sits with his two dogs after removing them from his flooded home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on November 11, 2010. Thousands of families were displaced after the heaviest rains in the Sri Lankan capital since 1992. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

By Amantha Perera

RIO DE JANEIRO (AlertNet) – Just how fast is sustainable urban development becoming a focus? Look at its profile in the just-concluded Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development in Rio.

Experts, UN officials and activists spoke of how the world’s bulging urban population will need a bigger share of resources and attention. If the bulk of the world’s urban population remains poor and locked out of the development processes, stresses will multiply, they said.

And changing climate patterns, they added, are likely to exacerbate the problems cities and their residents face. Asia, in particularly, will have to take action quickly as it is poised to see the largest urban growth in coming decades.

“It is tectonic shift in city development patterns that we are talking about here, and it will take time,” George McCarthy, director of the U.S.-based Ford Foundation’s urban opportunities programme told AlertNet.

“City planners will have to look more at investing in housing, transport, schools and other such infrastructure,” he said, in order to help the growing legions of urban poor.

Asia is where most of the changes are coming. Of the 1 billion people who will be added to the world's urban population in the next two decades, half will be in India and China, said Cornie Huizenga, convener of the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SloCat), a Shanghai-based organization that lobbies for sustainable urban transportation systems.

The world’s cities are already home to a billion in poverty, and failing to make needed changes will drive those numbers up, Huizenga warned.

“Cities will have to wake up to these issues, sooner (rather) than later,” he said.

For now, problems remain. Many cities, for instance, have had a decades-long focus on improving the efficiency of individual motor vehicles while failing to invest as much in improving public transport systems, Huizenga said. But SloCat research suggests that the combined costs of congestion, air pollution, road accidents and transport-related climate change are the equivalent of 5 to 10 percent of GDP for some Asian cities.

“If a city is developing at 12 percent (GDP) and this alone is taking out 10 percent, this is something that needs urgent fixing,” Huizenga said. At Rio, SloCat and other organizations lobbied to promote greater focus on and investment in public transport systems in cities – with some success.


During the first day of the conference, six development banks including the dominant World Bank and Asian Development Bank said that they would create a $175 billion fund to help countries improve urban public transport.

The costs involved in creating the kind of development shifts advocated by McCarthy and Huizenga will not be small, especially for Asian cities.

Recently the World Bank said that it was providing $233 million in assistance to the Metro Development Project, which aims to improve the water retention and drainage system in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital.

In Colombo, over 47 percent of people live in what are classified as informal settlements, according to Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority (UDA). Such settlements and illegal landfills, which in some cases impede on waterways and drainage areas, have reduced the city’s drainage capacity by at least 30 percent in the last decade, the World Bank said.

In an effort to move informal settlers out of the path of waterways, the UDA is currently building 10,000 high-rise apartments, and another 15,000 are planned. Of the $233 million earmarked for the new Colombo drainage management scheme, over $50 million is expected to toward new housing, compensation payments and other expenses for around 1,500 families likely to lose their homes.

Improving public transportation also can carry big costs. In Asia, building a kilometer of subway system costs around $100 million and a kilometer of bus rapid transit system about $10 million, Huizenga said. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are both expected to boost lending for such projects, he said.

But as urbanisation races ahead and climate change brings worsening pressures, many cities are realising the importance of making the needed investments, said Micheal Replogle, policy director at the Washington-basedInstitute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Colombo, for example, has seen parts of the city go underwater at least six times in the last 18 months as climate change appears to be altering the monsoon and bringing briefer but more intense rains. That has been one driver for the new spending on improving drainage, he said.

“I think cities are slowly realising the importance of investing in areas like public transport,” Replogle said.

The Ford Foundation’s McCarthy said one advantage for Asian cities trying to improve their urban infrastructure is that “they stand to gain from new technology and how things worked or otherwise in other parts of the world.”

Amantha Perera is a freelance writer based in Sri Lanka.

Link to the source:-

West India drought fuels migration to cities

West India drought fuels migration to cities

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 09:31 GMT

Source: Alertnet // Darryl D'Monte

Women agricultural labourers stand in a turmeric field at the end of a work day outside Sangli, about 380km (236 miles) south of Mumbai, Dec, 5, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

By Darryl D'Monte

MUMBAI (AlertNet) - Worsening drought in western India is making it harder for men to find brides and pushing poor rural families to seek work in cities, as government policies to help them deal with crop failure and financial pressures fall short.

More than a dozen young men in a village in Khatav sub-district in Satara, in the west Indian state of Maharashtra, have been waiting in vain for brides for more than two years, since the dry spell began, the Daily New and Analysis(DNA) newspaper reported in May.

“No families in and around our village are ready to give their daughters to our boys,” farmer’s wife Sakubai Yadav, 45, told the DNA. Two other 26-year-old men have been biding their time for four years and have started drinking out of frustration, the paper said.

As well as doing household chores, young brides are expected to fetch water from wells up to 3 km away in the searing heat – a burden some don’t want to take on. And in order to get by after poor harvests, some wives have had to join the federal government’s rural employment guarantee scheme, which provides villagers with up to 100 days’ work a year.

Other families have left their villages, along with their cattle, to look for work in cities including Mumbai, the state capital, less than 300 km away. Once there, many become slum dwellers.

Some 6,000 people out of Maan sub-district’s population of 200,000 have permanently migrated to urban areas in the past year, according to Yogendra Katiyare, the top local government official. Last year’s census shows that the inhabitants of Aundh village, for example, dropped to 7,500 from 9,000 a decade ago.

Climate factors appear to be playing a growing part in this migration. The increasingly erratic nature of rainfall in the Khatav and Maan areas of Satara can be linked to climate change, according to Ramachandra Sable, former head of the meteorology department at Rahuri Agricultural University in eastern Maharashtra.

Sable told AlertNet that monsoon patterns are changing, leading to depletion of groundwater levels. Valsa Nair Singh, Maharashtra’s environment secretary, confirmed that the water level in Satara’s aquifers has dropped.

Khatav and Maan are located in the shadow of the Mahabaleshwar hills, which receive annual rainfall of around 6,000 mm - but the water does not flow eastwards. Analysing the last three decades of rain in these areas, Sable found that 60 percent of years were deficient, 20 percent normal and only 20 percent above average.

Rakesh Kumar of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in Mumbai, who is reviewing data for the next assessment report of the U.N. climate panel, told AlertNet that the severity and frequency of drought in the area is increasing due to climate change. A rise in the summer temperature is reducing moisture retention in the soil, he observed.


The impacts of climate shifts have been compounded by political corruption and bureaucratic indifference, according to Delhi-based Sunita Narain, the editor ofDown to Earth magazine. She says funds earmarked for drought relief have not been used efficiently and irrigation schemes are being mismanaged.

“Reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India speak about scandalous ways in which dams are built but canals are not, and about cost escalations so high that projects become unviable and are never completed,” Narain wrote in a May 31 editorial.

The opposition Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Maharashtra says the state has spent close to Rs. 66,000 crores ($12 billion) on irrigation schemes in the last 10 years. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan admitted last month that, despite this expenditure, only a 0.1 percent increase in land under irrigation was achieved in the decade, according to, a construction news website.

Yet 40 percent of the state’s irrigation capacity – the potential of projects to deliver water - lies unused, according to Maharashtra’s annual economic survey.

Maharashtra is the only state in India that provides water to industry in preference to agriculture, Narain asserts, with the economic survey noting that only half of storage capacity is used for farming.

And Maharashtra grows two-thirds of India’s sugar cane - a crop that guzzles water in a region where some women spend three hours a day fetching pails of water for family needs.

Sugar is big politics in the region, with leaders heading co-operatives that get bank loans at reduced rates, as well as other favours. The Economic Timesreported last month that the state BJP leader, Gopinath Munde, is now the region’s main sugar baron, with his company believed to own some 25 mills.


Home to the huge cities of Mumbai and Pune, Maharashtra is more urbanised than most other Indian states, and the demand of big residential areas for water is huge and growing.

The Mumbai Municipal Corporation has just announced the completion of a new dam in the hinterland, which will deliver 455 million litres of water per day to 12.5 million inhabitants. Some of the water was previously being used by farmers and other rural dwellers.

The current state of affairs seems ironic, given that Maharashtra was the first Indian state to initiate drought relief back in 1972.

It started an employment guarantee scheme providing cash and food to people in affected areas. The initiative won international accolades, including from the World Bank, but later languished due to official apathy, according to Mick Moore and Vishal Jadhav, writing in the Journal of Development Studies in 2006.

In the early days, work was carried out on big irrigation projects with politicians’ backing. But when the focus shifted to smaller schemes, politicians lost interest, the researchers said.

A prize-winning investigative journalist, P. Sainath, published a best-seller in the early 1990s, entitled Everybody Loves a Good Drought, based on his visits to India’s 10 poorest districts. The title chapter explored how bureaucrats and politicians used disaster situations to clamour for more funds from the federal government, only to siphon off some of the money for themselves - a situation that Sainath maintains continues today.


Some villagers are also bitter that local wind farm operators are reaping profits while they are struggling to cope with drought. Satara district has 1,100 wind turbines, accounting for 1,600 megawatts (MW) of power capacity.

Activist Bharat Patankar has led a movement since 2003 which has forced the government to pay land owners a fee of Rs 15,000 ($81) per year for every MW of capacity installed on their land.

But rural folk say government initiatives intended to help them get through drought periods are simply not enough. Young men from Khatav and Maan are finding the guaranteed employment daily wage of Rs 131 ($2.40) too little, and are heading to the cities.

People in eastern Maharashtra are also suffering, as the region suffers from near-perennial drought. The cotton fields of Vidarbha, for example, have witnessed a spate of farmer suicides due to the pressure of large loans they can’t repay.

The Hindu newspaper reported last October that farm suicides in Maharashtra had topped 50,000 between 1995 and 2010, with the yearly average increasing this century, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Darryl D’Monte, former editor of the Times of India in Mumbai, heads the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India and is the founding president of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists. He is based in Mumbai.

Link to the source:-

Severe Weather Warnings DATE : JUNE 28, 2012



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Indonesia to host major conference on disasters in Asia

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Photo:CIFOR)

BANGKOK, 26 June, 2012 - The Indonesian government today announced details of the Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which it will host in October as the region counts the cost of record-breaking disaster losses over the last year. Indonesia made disaster risk reduction a national priority following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Last year, 137 out of the 302 major disasters reported worldwide occurred in Asia causing the majority of disaster deaths and more than US$ 274 billion in economic losses which represented more than 75.1 per cent of the global figure of US$365 billion.

“As a country which has experienced so many natural hazards, Indonesia is proud to host this important event and to share with other countries its experience in disaster risk reduction because we know that prevention pays,” said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, who was officially appointed Global Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon last November.

Margareta Wahlström, Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, who has travelled extensively in the region over the last 12 months to see at first-hand the impact of disasters at community level, said: “The Conference will take stock of achievements in reducing the impact of disasters and demonstrate through strong active participation of local governments and civil society organizations, the importance of their action to strengthen resilience, and it will discuss opportunities for partnerships for action.

“I also consider this an important opportunity to debate and plan for a successor agreement to the international framework for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action which will expire in 2015. Asia will have a significant influence on what kind of post-2015 framework we put in place to protect economies and development gains.”

More than 1,000 participants, including government Ministers and high-level representatives from 60 countries will gather in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, at the Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, October 22-25, to discuss how local policies and practices can make their communities safer against disasters.

To know more about the conference and the programme please see the following site:

Turning Climate Change Data into Policy Is No Easy Feat

(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Data suggest climate change is bringing an increased risk of more severe forest fires, but warming temperatures may cause other complex ecosystem changes. Local agencies are already planning ways to mitigate and adapt, but making policy based on models that show global trends over the next century is not an easy task.

On a recent brisk sunny morning at Lake Tahoe, the waters sparkling their iconic blue. Scientists from UC Davis's Tahoe Environmental Research Center take the boat out to Tahoe Buoy Three, a floating concrete island about 10-feet in diameter with scientific instruments bolted to its tripod structure.

"When you have a long-term record, especially going back more than 40 years , you can start to see these long-term trends," said Geoff Schladow, the director of theTahoe Environmental Research Center. "So now springtime defined by the peak of the spring runoff, is occurring two weeks sooner than it did 40 years ago."

Warming Could Lead to Cascade of Changes

Data from these buoys show that the lake has warmed about 1 degree Fahrenheit on average over the last four decades.

But it's not the average that's worrisome. The concern is that the surface has warmed much more than the depths. So that makes the surface water much lighter.

"We're finding on average that density difference is getting larger, meaning more energy is needed to mix that water," Schladow said.

Historically Lake Tahoe mixes all the way from top to bottom about once every three or four years. The mixing helps move oxygen throughout the lake's water.

"What the model suggests is that in the coming decades, it's going mix to that depth less often," Schladow said. "And possibly in the second half of the century, that mixing may cease altogether."

Less water mixing could bring a cascade of changes to the ecosystem. There have already been some periodic increases in surface algae. This could reduce zooplankton, which are a critical food source for fish. And reduced mixing could cloud Tahoe's famous water clarity.


Planning For Extremes

That's the tricky thing about climate change. Science can point to some concrete trends -- water and air temperature warming; or more precipitation falling as rain, not snow -- but scientific models can't tell what will happen next year. Or exactly how climate changes might affect the ecosystem.

Andy Wirth, CEO of Tahoe's Squaw Valley Ski Resort, says they can't base their business plan on suggestions that snowpack might be reduced by half in the next 50 years.

"Those are horizons that are very difficult to manage to. And I would really make effort to have everyone understand how seriously we take this," Wirth said.

Wirth says the company's working on initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, but when it comes running a business based on snow, decisions must be made day by day.

"We've seen that scientific information doesn't make it into decision making and policy, very easily," said Jeremy Sokulsky, president of Environmental Incentives, a consulting firm based in Lake Tahoe. His firm uses scientific data to suggest tangible actions businesses can actually take.

For example, since scientific models are predicting more rain and less snow, there's a potential for springtime flooding in the basin.

Sokulsky's group has developed checklists so when engineers design for construction near streams they build larger drain pipes than earlier standards.

"Climate change provides this conundrum where you can't look back and predict the future anymore. So having to use modeled predictions of what the world's going to be like in the future, is kind of culturally difficult."

The Tahoe basin provides a good laboratory to try new strategies.

"Because of it's clarity, it makes it a very sensitive instrument," said Geoff Schladow of UC Davis. "A change here of a few percent will be magnified, a change of a few percent in some of the lower elevation lakes may even be hard to measure.

Lake Tahoe is one of the most studied lakes in the world, because it's a rare laboratory. Scientists say the changes we see there could provide clues of what's coming elsewhere in the Sierra and around the world.


Severe Weather Warnings DATE : JUNE 27, 2012

Severe Weather Warnings

DATE : JUNE 27, 2012



Current status of Monsoon 2012 and Forecast for next one week.

Government of India
Ministry of Earth Sciences
India Meteorological Department

Press Release
Dated: 22 June, 2012

Subject: Current status of Monsoon 2012 and Forecast for next one week.

Advance of monsoon

Due to strengthening of the Arabian Sea branch of the monsoonal current in
the beginning of the week, monsoon covered most parts of peninsular India
including interior Maharashtra by 17 June. Also due to the formation of an upper air
cyclonic circulation over the northwest Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood, the eastern
branch advanced further during the subsequent days covering entire Bihar,
Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Sikkim, some parts of east Madhya
Pradesh and east Uttar Pradesh.
The Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) passes through Lat. 21° N/Long. 60°
E, Lat. 21° N/Long. 65° E, Veraval, Navsari, Malegaon, Betul, Jabalpur, Sidhi,
Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Lat. 28 ° N/Long. 83° E.

Rainfall during the week (14 -20 June)

Active/vigorous monsoon conditions prevailed over parts of central & east
India and south Peninsula during many days of the week.

Out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, rainfall was excess in 09, normal in 11, deficient in 08 and scanty in 08 sub-divisions during the week. In area-wise distribution, 50% area of the country received excess/normal rainfall. Remaining 50% area received deficient/scanty rainfall.

Seasonal Rainfall Scenario (1-20 June)
There has been considerable improvement in the rainfall situation over the
country during past week. The All India rainfall deficiency as on 20th June is 26% as against 50% as on 13th June.
Out of 36 meteorological subdivisions, the rainfall has been excess over 03, normal over 09, deficient over 16 and scanty over 08 (mainly over northwest India) subdivisions.
In area-wise distribution, 24% area of the country received excess/normal rainfall. Remaining 76% area received deficient/scanty rainfall.

Current synoptic conditions as on 22 June, 2012

o An off shore trough at mean sea level runs from south Konkan coast to Kerala
o An upper air cyclonic circulation lies over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining
Jharkhand & Orissa extending upto midtropospheric levels.
o Another upper air cyclonic circulation lies over central parts of Uttar Pradesh &
neighbourhood in lower levels.

Forecast for next one week (23-29 June)

o Under the influence of an upper air cyclonic circulation over Gangetic West
Bengal & adjoining areas, rainfall would continue to occur at many places over
West Bengal & Sikkim, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, east Madhya
Pradesh and Vidarbha during many days of the week.
o Rainfall would occur at many places along the west coast and northeastern
states throughout the week.
o Rainfall would occur at few places over east Uttar Pradesh, west Madhya
Pradesh and interior peninsula during many days of the week.
o Isolated rainfall may occur over the remaining parts of the country

Forecast for advance of Monsoon during next week

Analysis of current meteorological conditions and numerical weather prediction models indicate that the conditions are not conducive for further advance of monsoon during next 4-5 days. Thereafter, another pulse may develop in Bay of Bengal which may lead to advance of monsoon over remaining parts of central India and some more parts of northwest India.

Read more reports at :

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Elsevier Launches New Journal: International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

OXFORD, England, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of a new quarterly journal, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction is affiliated with the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos and will be launched officially at the 4th International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) in Davos, Switzerland, August 26-30, 2012.

The combination of the world's growing population, expanding urbanization and globalization and now climate change, has greatly aggravated the risk potential of natural and technological disasters to all communities and nations. There is great demand for an improved understanding, assessment and management of disasters and risks that affect human safety, health, the environment, critical infrastructures, the economy and society at large. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction publishes fundamental and applied research, critical reviews, policy papers and case studies addressing these issues at all geographical scales, and from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Dr. David Alexander of the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, Editor-in-Chief of the journal said of the launch, "As the founding Editor-in-Chief, my vision for the journal is to create an international and interdisciplinary forum to foster communication and collaboration between researchers, policymakers and practitioners concerned with disaster research, mitigation and risk reduction."

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction publishes research in the following scientific fields: earth sciences in its entirety; environmental sciences; engineering; urban studies; geography; and social sciences.

The first year of the journal's content will be freely available to view online until 31 August 2013 on ScienceDirect; first papers accepted for publication in the journal are now available online.

For more information visit the journal homepage: . To submit a paper go to:

# # #

About the Global Risk Forum (GRF)

"From Thoughts to Action" - this credo is the basis of all the work of the Global Risk Forum (GRF) Davos, Switzerland. Through its various activities GRF Davos aims to serve as a centre of knowledge and exchange of know-how for the application of contemporary risk management strategies, tools and practical solutions. GRF Davos endorses vulnerability reduction for all types of risks and disasters in order to provide sustainable protection of life, property, the environment and critical infrastructure. The foundation supports on-going efforts to achieve sustainable development through integrative risk management, particularly in the context of climate change, and by actively promoting public-private partnerships.

About the International Disaster Risk Conference (IDRC)

The 4th International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) will be held in the beautiful mountain area and renewed conference centre of Davos, Switzerland from 26 - 30 August 2012. Government officials, experts and practitioners, representatives from NGOs, the private sector, from scientific and academic institutions covering natural-, social-, medical-, legal-, and engineering- science as well as media and the public will discuss new findings and exchange experiences in the broad spectrum of risks societies face today. The unique IDRC Davos format includes plenary and parallel sessions, workshops and training courses, as well as poster exhibitions.

The IDRC Davos 2012 theme "Integrative Risk Management in a changing world - Pathways to a Resilient Society" will further establish and develop the approach of Integrative Risk Management within the following context: tools and instruments in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); climate change adaptation; environment and disaster risk; agricultural risks; mega disasters and cascading effects; urban risks; critical infrastructure and services; health impacts, medical response; economics of disaster, financial tools for risk management; future humanitarism.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Mosby's Nursing Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

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Rio+20: What does the Earth Summit’s outcome mean for climate change?

25 June 2012

By John Parnell

With Rio+20 over, we’re left to pick through the bones of the final outcome and asses what impact it might have, if any, on global attempts to reduce and react to the consequences of climate change.

The Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, is a separate process from the UN’s long-running climate change talks (overseen by the UNFCCC) that were borne out of the original Earth Summit in Rio back in 1992.

World leaders at Rio applaud after finishing their portrait session. (Source: Flickr/UN_Photo_Conference)

The crossover between the objectives of the two, is obvious and the opportunities for progress enormous.

However, the outcome document has been criticized for failing to adequately address a number of development issues, particularly gender equality and the swift establishment of sustainable development goals, something the UK’s own international development department was keen on.

On climate change, there are a number of direct and indirect references that could boost efforts to cut emissions and increase resilience. Today, we’ll look at what is in the document (which can be viewed in full at the bottom of this page) and the potential impact for climate issues. Tomorrow, we’ll review what’s missing, what topics fell off the agenda and which issues championed heavily before the event, didn’t make the cut.

“We acknowledge that climate change is a cross-cutting and persistent crisis and express our concern that the scale and gravity of the negative impacts of climate change affect all countries and undermine the ability of all countries in particular, developing countries, to achieve sustainable development and the MDGs and threaten the viability and survival of nations.” Paragraph 25

This paragraph is not as bland as it looks.

The “viability and survival of nations” phrase is a victory for small island nations, many of whom have already begun migrations as a result of climate change. With increased sea level and more powerful storm surges, a devastating combination of coastal erosion and contamination of ground water supplies by seawater are making islands uninhabitable.

This acknowledgement should secure them special focus in the ongoing sustainable development talks. Four later paragraphs (178-181) build on this.

Ocean protection, particularly with relation to small island states such as Kiribati, is among the strongest components of the document. (Source: Rafael Avila Coya)

“We recognize that improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy, cleaner and energy-efficient technologies are important for sustainable development, including in addressing climate change. We also recognize the need for energy efficiency measures in urban planning, buildings, and transportation, and in the production of goods and services and in the design of products. We also recognize the importance of promoting incentives in favour of, and removing disincentives to, energy efficiency and the diversification of the energy mix, including promoting research and development in all countries, including developing countries.” Paragraph 128

Several encouraging lines here but (and this is a running theme), the language is not strong enough.

“Recognizing that energy efficiency is important to combating climate change.” Surely that was not a point for debate?

The mention for transportation and product design is also fresh and will cut emissions and other resource depletion directly and indirectly if action on the ground results from the “recognition”.

The final line, about supporting efficiency measures in developing nations is better, but celebrations will be on pause until some money is on the table.

“We underline the importance of considering disaster risk reduction, resilience and climate risks in urban planning. We recognize the efforts of cities to balance development with rural regions.” Paragraph 135

For many, particularly those living on floodplains in the developing world, this is great to see. But again, what does recognize mean? You might recognize that your house is on fire, it’s what you do about it that’s key.

Much of the action on this sector could be carried out directly through the UNFCCC’s adaptation work, handled separately through its own talks.

“We call for support to initiatives that address ocean acidification and the impacts of climate change on marine and coastal ecosystems and resources.” Paragraph 166

Ocean-related paragraphs are among the strongest worded in the outcome document. Ocean acidification has been largely ignored in favour of sea level rise when it comes to the oceans and climate change. A specific reference to “calling for support” is effectively the rattle of a collection tin for research work looking to find solutions to this challenge.

A later paragraph (176) supports international protection specifically for coral reefs not just from acidification but also from damaging fishing practices and pollution. It also places mangrove conservation at the heart of the possible solutions.

Restoring mangroves has proven to be a successful way to reduce coastal erosion and to create jobs that rely on that particular ecosystem.

When you reach paragraphs 190 onwards, you find the designated climate change section. So will nations state their intention to cut greenhouse gas emissions (via the UNFCCC process of course)? No, but they do “express profound alarm that emissions…continue to rise globally”.

There is more grave concern over the so-called emissions gap and Parties to the UNFCCC urged to fulfill their commitments.

Most tellingly, the concept of Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR), missing from the last climate change text, has re-appeared.

The Indian delegation pushed hard for the inclusion of CBDR. (Source: Flickr/UN_photo_conference)

In summary, the Rio+20 outcome moves climate action no further forward but it does still have a net positive benefit.

The relatively strong words on ocean protection will boost carbon sequestration in the seas and vulnerable nations can point to the document should they not receive enhanced protections and assistance.

The true effects of the document are impossible to predict as the wording places practically no pressure on politicians to do anything.

It does however, prove that they are aware not only of the problems, but of many of the solutions. They can’t use ignorance as a reason for inaction any longer.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what’s missing from the document, and the resulting implications for climate change.

The full document:

The Future We Want – Final Document